S. Korea’s top diplomat heads to China for talks on supply chain, N. Korea

August 8, 2022

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin departed Monday for China to hold talks with his counterpart on issues related to supply chains, North Korea and regional security.

In his first trip to China since taking office in May, Park flew to the eastern port city of Qingdao to meet bilaterally with Wang Yi on Tuesday, as Seoul and Beijing are commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic ties on Aug. 24. Park will be the highest-ranking South Korean official visit to China under the Yoon Suk-yeol administration launched in May.

The two sides are expected to have discussions on a wide range of issues including supply chains and how to deal with Pyongyang, according to Park. His talks with Wang are expected to set the tone for Seoul-Beijing ties under the conservative Yoon administration, which faces a daunting balancing act between Washington and Beijing.

One of the most pressing issues is the U.S. proposal for a semiconductor alliance known as the “Chip 4,” also involving Japan and Taiwan, viewed by China as aimed at countering its influence.

The foreign ministry has reportedly expressed Seoul’s intent to join a preliminary meeting of Chip 4, expected to be held around early September, before deciding on its membership.

They also plan to exchange opinions on the security situation on the Korean Peninsula amid concerns over the possibility of North Korea conducting its seventh nuclear test.

Other agenda items apparently include Beijing’s opposition to Seoul’s potential deal with Washington for the deployment of an additional advanced missile defense system, called THAAD, on the peninsula.

Park is to return home on Wednesday.